Low levels of coal stock heighten UPs power crisis

Written by Deepa Jainani | Lucknow | Updated: Aug 23 2014, 06:02am hrs
An acute shortage of coal has gripped thermal power plants, both private as well as state projects in Uttar Pradesh, with many of them operating with just 4-7 days of stock as against the minimum requirement of a fortnights stock.

While Reliance Powers Rosa plant is facing forced shutdown of one unit of 300 mw due to inadequate coal supply by Central Coalfields (CCL), its three other units may also face a shutdown if coal supply doesnt improve.

Lancos Anpara C plant is also not able to produce in accordance with the capacity, while UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam (UPRVUN) is unable to run its 210 Parichha mw plant for want of coal.

In a letter to the ministry of coal, Reliance has requested intervention to address the supply of coal below 40% ACQ to the Rosa plant by CCL. Due to insufficient supply of domestic linkage coal through rail mode from CCL, the 1,200-mw Rosa thermal power plant is running dangerously low on stock (1 day stock) and is forced to shut down one unit while others are operating at part load, director Vaibhav Agarwal wrote to SK Srivastava, coal secretary, last week, seeking immediate intervention.

Lanco Anparas plant head AK Srivastava, too, has written to UPRVUN for urgent help, stating that UPPCL chairman had given standing instructions to Lanco Power to run both units on full load in view of peak demand for electricity in the state but its coal stock is 5,000 mt only. In view of this, it is requested that at least 2 MGR rakes per day be moved to khadia coal mine on account of Lanco on continuos basis to enable it to run both units".

UPPCL sources said all government-owned (UPRVUNL) plants have reached a hand-to-mouth situation as far as supply of coal was concerned. None of our plants have coal reserves of more than four-nine days, a source said, adding that ideally, stock should not be of less than 15 days for plants near coalmines and one month in case of those at a distance. The UPRVUNL management has been writing to the coal and power ministries requesting them to make coal available, but in vain. They tell us that even the Centres thermal plants are facing a crunch as part of a national crisis, said an official.

Confirming that the coal crisis was hitting central plants as well, sources said NTPC's 500-mw unit at Rihand and 490 mw unit at Dadri were closed for coal shortage.

The peak-time demand-supply gap in the state on Tuesday was more than 2,000 mw as total power availability was nearly 10,500 mw against demand for 12,500 mw. The acute humidity has driven up demand, a source said, adding the situation was verging on dangerous".